Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Are You Prepared To Lose Weight?

Yep, it’s that time again! The New Year is upon us, and I would imagine many of you are making New Year’s resolutions. What’s on the agenda for 2010? In chatting with family, friends, acquaintances, losing weight and getting healthy are topping the list…again. It’s difficult to stick with resolutions, especially if you throw in the towel within a month. It typically takes about six weeks to make a behavior change that lasts, so the question is what will help you get through that time. So I ask, are you prepared to lose weight?

Weight loss is just like many other things in life – an action plan is needed, one that includes some accountability to keep things on track. I have some suggestions that might help get things started. Like we’ve discussed before, the keys are diet and exercise (with some goal setting thrown in for good measure).

First, the food. I know, the holidays are tough…big meals, more of them and throw in a little merriment and you’ve got a few extra pounds to deal with. “I’ll just wait until the new year.” Well, it’s time to put together a plan. Keep track of what goes in your mouth for about a week. Yes, that’s right, a food journal. Believe it or not, it really reveals what’s going right and what’s going not so right. People are less likely to overindulge or have that third piece of pie if they have to account for it (here’s that accountability). It also shows habits, when you tend to eat out, or stay home and cook. This brings me to the second part of the “food” category: create a weekly plan for food. By doing this, you can prepare snacks and meals ahead of time, as well as have a grocery list handy when you go to the store. Boil some eggs, chop fruit or veggies or even prepare full meals for easy use later. Again, having a written plan helps to guide the diet and reduce pitfalls.

Next, the exercise. No new news here…having a plan will help. Get out your calendar (you can print a month at a time on Google or Outlook or whatever) and schedule your workouts. Schedule the time as if it’s a piano lesson, doctor’s appointment or client meeting. Again, accountability just like the rest of your appointments. If it’s in the calendar, the time is already blocked off. If you are feeling ambitious, try to schedule specific activities during those appointments. Meet a friend for a jog around the neighborhood. Attend a class at a gym. Alternate cardiovascular and weight training at the gym.

The answer is whatever works best for you to get and keep you motivated. Once you have established a pattern, you and your body are getting used to exercise and eating healthier. So, be prepared to lose that weight!

I hope you enjoy a happy and prosperous New Year!